By: Candess Zona-Mendola of MakeFoodSafe
A press release from the Virginia Department of Health announced that 10 people are sick in Chesterfield, Virginia in a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak. The 10 confirmed illnesses are more cases then the county sees during the summer, which is usually 3 cases. Due to this outbreak, a Chesterfield school was forced to close. The health department is working with the CDC to identify the outbreak source.
In a letter to the schools’ parents, Chesterfield’s Superintendent, Merv Daughtery, said that a water-cooling tower near the school is being disinfected and “the tower was tested for the presence of Legionnaire’s-causing bacteria, known as Legionella, and a preliminary result is expected in about a week.”
The Director of the Chesterfield Department of Health, Dr. Alexander Samuel, said that the cooling towers are “more than likely” the cause, but he added that it’s possible the health district might never determine a definitive source because the cases have been so spread out. The investigation is ongoing.
At this time, the health agency recommends, “[o]ut of an abundance of caution, the health district recommends that individuals who become ill with pneumonia-like or respiratory symptoms, such as fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches and headache promptly seek medical care.”
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